The constitutional challenge against ObamaCare's individual mandate to purchase health insurance heads to a federal appeals court today, with arguments beginning this morning in Richmond, VA. The hearings are closed to electronic devices, so we'll have to wait until reports trickle out to find out exactly how the arguments went. We did, however, finally find out the names of three judges assigned to hear the case. All three were appointed by Democratic presidents; if previous challenges to ObamaCare's mandate are any indication, that means the challengers hoping to take down the mandate will face long odds. The Examiner's Philip Klein is on the scene:
A three-judge federal appeals panel comprised of two Obama nominees and a Clinton nominee will hear arguments later this morning in two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the national health care law.
The makeup of the U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals panel is crucial, because in lower court rulings so far, Democratic judges have upheld the law while Republican judges have declared it unconstitutional.
The judges on the panel will be Obama nominees James A. Wynn, Jr and Andre M. Davis, who will sit on the panel along with Clinton nominee Diana Gribbon Motz. According to the Fourth Circuit, the panel is chosen by "a computer program designed to achieve total random selection."
In previous cases, judges appointed by Democrats have ruled that ObamaCare's insurance mandate passes legal muster because Congress is constitutionally allowed to regulate economic activity and mental activity.